It is not normal for the good old Ethiopian state...

Mar 30 , 2019

It is not normal for the good old Ethiopian state to leave one of its crucial cabinet portfolios vacant for weeks now. Worqneh Gebeyehu (PhD), the minister of Foreign Affairs since 2016, surfaced in New York last week, according to gossip. He was there perhaps processing his employment contract with the United Nations (UN), after his resignation from the foreign office almost a month ago.

Back home, his office on Menelik II Avenue is still waiting for a new appointment, which will most likely go to someone from the Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), one of the coalition members in the ruling EPRDF. Demeke Mekonnen, deputy prime minister; Yohannes Buayalew, head of the party`s organizational affairs; and Yinager Dessie (PhD), governor of the central bank, have been mentioned now and then as prospective candidates for the job, says gossip. The least interested in the post could be Demeke, gossip claims.

Though nothing has been cemented yet, the wave appears to be in favour of Yinager, at least up until recently, claims gossip. Educated in the UK in environmental economics, he had served as a state minister in the foreign office before he was moved to the National Planning Commission as a minister. Yinager’s likely placement at the foreign office may open the way at the central bank for Eyob Tekalegn, a young and pro-private sector official, who recently completed his doctoral studies, to be the governor, departing the Ministry of Finance where he is serving as a state minister now, heard gossip.

The nation’s army of shepherd-less diplomats is now under the stewardship of Hirut Zemene, one of the state ministers in the foreign office in charge of African affairs. She may have been doing well in taking up additional responsibilities moonlighting in the ministerial role; however, the need to participate in the National Security Council meeting will require the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) to appoint Hirut as acting foreign minister, until the power gamble with the ADP guys comes to a conclusion, claims gossip.

Acting, Hirut is already doing it, judging by her latest appearance before heads of mission of the foreign diplomatic corps, says gossip. Almost all the 120 or so envoys stationed in Addis Abeba did congregate inside a conference hall of a newly completed complex on Ras Mekonnen St. (the road to Filwoha) last week, gossip disclosed. Called to bring the diplomatic community up to speed on the current state of affairs of the nation, it was used to mark the one year journey of the administration at the meeting was chaired by Hirut along with Billene Seyoum, the communications aide of the Prime Minister, who some of the diplomats grumbled about for her fast talking, gossip claims.

Many of the diplomats were not impressed by the meeting, for it revealed not much in the way of either new developments or courses of action, gossip disclosed. Neither were the two ladies challenged by those they recognized to speak; they were only four, gossip revealed.

The head of the EU mission spoke about how remarkable the Prime Minister has been, while the Ambassador to South Sudan reminded the audience how great Abiy is, claims gossip. The Ambassador to Poland raised issues in relation to the internally displaced people, whose numbers were undercut by the chairwomen from what international aid agencies reported, according to gossip.

If at all, both Hirut and Billene have reassured the diplomatic community based in Addis Abeba on the administration’s commitment to ensuring the next national elections will be held on schedule and in a manner that will be free, fair and credible, gossip disclosed.

PUBLISHED ON Mar 30,2019 [ VOL 19 , NO 987]

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